Friday, June 3, 2016

Castle got the axe ... what took so long?

Castle finally got the axe, and my question is WHY didn't the producers know sooner? How could a team of mystery writers not know that their series was being canceled? All the clues were there. The first big one was the MONTHS long break in the middle of the season. Which meant no traditional Halloween, Thanksgiving or Christmas episodes. No network does this, unless they plan on killing the series (or seriously thinking about it). The only way they could have been more obvious is if they moved Castle from the normal Monday night to the Friday night death slot.

Then you have the episodes for the past two seasons, with only rare exception ("The Nose" for example) were terrible. I couldn't help but think "this is absolute garbage" especially for the last 3 or 4 episodes for this season. My impression was the writers WANTED the series to die, it is the only reason they would put out such terrible content. The Castle character was 'off the wall' crazy. Granted he always had a bit of a crazy streak, but it was tamed by his other qualities. However, it seems that this season they wanted to release all the bad qualities of Castle onto the world unabated. And I can tell you, if they did this the first season the show would not have lasted past 5 episodes let alone all the years it has been on the air. I know I wouldn't have watched it.

I have been a fan of Castle for quite a while. A well done show about a successful writer? What writer wouldn't want to watch? But I think it started its downward spiral when the writers married the two main characters. After that they didn't seem to know what to do with them. Almost as if they had a meeting "okay, we married them now what?" And everyone said "I have no idea." And this is odd because there have been so many great books, and shows staring a married couple. Seriously, do these writers not read or watch older content to see how it is done? If that be the case, they deserved to be fired. Granted there were a few good episodes since they married Castle, but that was the exception rather than the rule. They lacked the spark of the earlier seasons.

I can't blame ABC for the last episode, instead I blame the writers/producers of Castle. For this fiasco is solely their mess. The only thing you could blame ABC for is they took so long to make the official announcement (the Thursday before the final show aired). They should have done that at the start or middle of the last season, when it was quite obvious they didn't care about the show anymore. But like I said, I can't blame them for that, why continue pay for such garbage? I know I wouldn't.

The part that really steams me: why in the world did the writers not plan the last episode better? As I said all the signs of cancellation where there. What more did they need? God writing on the wall "You are going to be canceled!" There have been many shows in the past where the future was uncertain, and they were top rated shows. So what did they do? While they did have a season ending cliffhanger (which is a personal pet peeve of mine by the way), they DID film both halves of said cliffhanger. Therefore if they were canceled, they ended the show on a good note. If they weren't, then the second half was the first episode of the next season. It is a simple concept and done several times in the past, so why didn't they do it?

Two shows that I can think of that did an excellent job of this is Star Trek Next Generation, and Star Trek Voyager. Both shows not only filmed the second half of season cliffhanger episodes in case they were canceled, but also did a wonderful job of wrapping up the show when it was canceled. Nothing half baked about the ending of these two. Castle by contrast, wasn't even a quarter baked.

I also have heard they were planning to write the Kate character out of the show due to budgetary reasons, hence her getting shot in the end. Seriously? How can you write out half of the show and expect it to survive? Another obvious example that they knew what was coming. Although I suppose you could have Castle continue with his PI work, but it would take careful balance. Something the show lost awhile back.

And now we come back to my main gripe, they knew all of this yet did nothing about it. The ending was a total joke. I am sorry but any writer worth their salt could do better in a COMA! They are both shot, the camera flies off to show the loft with kids, then a few voice overs repeating past dialogue giving the impression they survived and had a family? The ending felt forced, a last second copout, but I will admit it is better than if they left the two characters looking as if they both died as was originally planned.

Also, the previous season's episode 'felt' like a series ender. Kate was being promoted, things looking up for Castle, etc. I have to assume the writers were not sure if Castle was going to be renewed. That is fine, and that IS the way one should do it. And HOW they should have done this year. Instead they planned a cliffhanger episode??? I am sorry but if you were unsure and almost canceled last season why would you think that this year would be any different? And if they couldn't afford to shoot an extra episode, how about doing a separate ending? One where Kate takes down the bad guy, almost gets killed in the process and they both are there being thankful to be alive? Then if canceled, they show the alternative ending. This isn't rocket science people.

It is a real shame considering that there are very few good shows being produced these days. And honestly, they should have stopped last year at the train station, before having the disastrous wreck that was this season.

Don DeBon is the author of Red Warp, Time Rock, and Soulmates.  Currently available from Kindle, Nook, iBooks, Kobo, Smashwords, and others. 

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